Baby Banana Pancakes

Everyone remembers this Jack Johnson song, right?  I’m pretty sure that’s a “yes” since almost every time I tell someone about this blog, they ask whether I’ve made banana pancakes and guess what? Until today, I hadn’t really made straight-up banana pancakes.

Sure, I’ve posted other recipes with a mashed banana or two in the batter, these are the real mccoy.  Little silver dollar pancakes with a perfect banana slice per pancake.

(The original recipe is from Martha Stewart and my version is other at my recipe box.)

The pancakes are pretty fun to make.  Somehow, cooking mini things is always more fun than cooking the regular-size version. The pancakes also cook quickly so you can make big batch pretty quickly.  Just watch out for the banana stickiness – my spatula get getting stuck to the pancakes.

I had a few leftover banana slices that I just sauteed quickly in the pan.  I thought those sauteed slices along with the pancakes were tasty enough, but I bet these pancakes would be equally delicious with some warm syrup or honey.  It’s hard to go wrong with a classic and these pancakes are no exception.

4 out of 5 stackies: 

Off The Griddle With Ihopapotamus at…Norma’s (at Le Parker Meridian)

Norma’s at Le Parker Meridian Hotel is dedicated to slinging food that is the stuff of Sunday fever dreams. A waffle stuffed with fruit, topped with crème brûlée to serve as foundation for yet another heaping of fruit. French toast, stuffed with cheesecake and then rolled in coconut before being smothered in an orange drizzle and served a la mode. 

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(photo from google maps)
But this blog does not challenge your ability to create battered toast! Nay! So to the pancakes! Or more precisely, the flap jack! Which is just a thicker pancake!
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(image from Norma’s)

This Ihopatopamus has a profound weakness for macadamia nuts, so the choice was easy: Norma’s irresistible banana-macadamia nut flap jacks topped with whipped banana brown sugar butter. 
Don’t let the 90-character description throw you, the mad genius of the toppings is not to obfuscate a poor pancake. Norma’s isn’t just shock and awe. The flap jacks were springy, moist, and most importantly, held their own against the whipped banana brown sugar butter. The flap jacks tasted on the savory end of banana bread; their lack of (comparative) sweetness served as counterpoint to the whipped banana brown sugar butter. Actual slices of banana were baked into the flap jacks, lifting the palette out of all the butter and sugar just long enough to make you miss them.

(pic from foodspotting.com)

The whipped banana brown sugar butter is as good as it sounds. The fat from the butter lends generous depth to the whipped banana and brown sugar. 
But the nuts are the best part. The whole plate party is topped with whole macadamia nuts and pecans.  The nuts lend a nice crunchy texture and give the entire dish a protein kick that makes it feel fulfilling without weighing (or slowing) you down.
Not to say you won’t need to breathe afterwards. The plates at Norma’s are delivered with a wink and a smirk, as if the staff is saying, “Give it your best shot.” I fasted the morning of, didn’t sit down to eat until 2:45 in the afternoon, and still found myself defeated. 

(portion of Saturday/Sunday menu from Norma’s)

Like the velvet-curtained Burger Joint across the lobby, Norma’s at Le Parker Meridian does unpretentious food with the kind of flair and execution you’d expect from any restaurant claiming prime real estate in a nice Manhattan hotel. Befitting its digs, Norma’s isn’t cheap. The banana-macadamia nut flap jacks run $23 and that doesn’t include coffee or tea (both are $7 as a buy-in and delivered in a bottomless personal french press). 
There are people who will say that no pancake is worth $23. I was one of them. But what Norma’s does is not just sell breakfast, they sell an experience. From the zany, why-didn’t-I-ever-think-of-that food to the contemporary, sleek decor, Norma’s and its ever-chipper staff are fantastic, memorable, and unquestionably unique. Go have yourself an experience.
4.5* out of 5 Paul Bunyans: 

* The flap-jack itself was worth a 5/5, I tasted their nutella-stuffed pancakes and I’d give it a 3.5, 4. The entire place is probably a 4.5, detracting only for the price and near constant up-sell they try and get you with on drinks

Banana-nana-bo-bana-coconutty-fo-fana-me-mi-mo-macadamia Pancakes!

Okay, 2 things right off the bat:

  1. You really need to read the title rhythmically – trust me, it works (if you do it right).
  2. I think you guys are really going to like these pancakes.  I mean REALLY like them.

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It’s been quite chilly in the Northeast recently (there must be some toros in the atmosphere) and I thought a little tropical culinary trip might help me forget how freezing it was outside.  As a happy coincidence, my roommate (C) and her boyfriend (M) had recently-ish been to Hawaii and raved about these coconut-macadamia nut-banana pancakes that they had at the Halekulani Hotel.  (Oh skip to the original recipe here and my version here! )

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(left: macadamia nuts in the pancakes; right: nuts only on top of pancakes)

In fact, the only problem we ran into was that M and C couldn’t quite remember whether the macadamia nuts were in the pancakes or just sprinkled on top – so, of course we had to have a head-to-head challenge. M preferred the pancakes with the macadamia nuts folded directly into the batter – those pancakes were much crunchier and a little more dense.  C, on the other hand, liked the pancakes with the nuts on top which were slightly fluffier.  The general consensus was that the pancakes with the nuts on top were closer to the ones at the Halekulani.

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(pot of coconut syrup)

The coconut syrup that goes with the pancake is pretty delicious as well.  It’s definitely on the sweet side so I would start out with a little less on your pancakes so that you don’t get overwhelmed.  Without the syrup, the pancakes had a very strong banana taste – I think I should have mashed up the bananas a little bit more so that it was more of a banana puree rather than a banana mash.

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(some chopped nuts and mashed banana)

All in all, if you’re looking for some fluffy, tropical, delicious, and glorious pancakes, look no further!

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4 out of 5 stackies: imageimageimageimage